A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.
©2005 Gianrico Carofiglio (P)2011 Audible Ltd
“Hard-boiled and sun-dried in equal parts. Where Philip Marlowe would be knocking back bourbon and listening to the snap of fist on jaw, Guido Guerrieri prefers Sicilian wine and Leonard Cohen. The role of Guerrieri is to take on impossible cases that have little chance of success. His efforts to prove his client's innocence bring him into dangerous conflict with Mafia interests. Everything a legal thriller should be.” (Financial Times)
''At one level an exciting courtroom thriller, but what places it in a superior league is the portrayal of a slice of Italian society not normally encountered in crime fiction and an immensely appealing flawed hero." (The Times, London)
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
This is perhaps the most thoughtfully written crime novel I've come across . . . the story within the story of Guido's personal life during the trial was equally important . . . so much so that I think it led him to take the case to defend the peddler accused of killing the nine year old boy. Finally trusting his gut as to the man's innocence, with everything to lose, he plunges ahead. I loved the setting in Italy in the late 1990s, too. You can't miss with this one.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I decided to read “Involuntary Witness” because it was an English translation of an Italian book. Thought I would get a feel of the culture, and as it is a legal mystery, some information about the Italian court system. The author, Gianrico Carofiglio, was a prosecutor in Bari Italy and now is a Senator in Rome. The book opens with Guido Guerrieri, a defense attorney, marriage ending with his wife demanding a divorce. There follows a year long bout of insomnia, panic attacks, depression and barely able to function in his job. He decided to take up boxing which he did when he was a young man and this helps him come out of his depression. He then takes on a case of a Senegalese peddler accused of murdering a young boy. Guerrieri realizes his client is innocent therefore; he is under greater stress to get him off. It was interesting to see the attitudes toward immigration by the Italians. I was most interested in the court system. Apparently there are two types of trials in Italy a shortened procedure which the prosecutor presents his case to the judge, but no witness are called, the advantage to the defendant is a reduced sentence. The other trial is the Assize court in front of two judges and six member jury and a full trial but if found guilty a longer sentence is given. The book is well written and easy to read. Sean Barrett did a good job narrating the book, loved the sound of the Italian words.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
There's an interesting but very tiny and inconsequential courtroom thing hidden inside of this interminable character study of a character that wasn't worth the study. And the level of detail… AAARGH! I really didn't care what the guy wore out of the house to a plot-useless meeting. If you like walking beaches for hours on grey days to find shells… Well, do that. This book will still bore. ZZZZZZ…..
Even though Involuntary Witness has a courtroom subplot, it isn't a legal thriller or a mystery. It is a story of how a man, who happens to be an attorney, is shattered by and recovers from a divorce and grows as an individual. It wasn't what I expected from the title and the cover art, but I enjoyed listening. The courtroom story arc is extremely interesting and says a lot about the Italian legal system and immigration issues. I have no idea how the title relates to the story. The narrator does a nice job but he sounded too old. When he said "avvocato," the Italian word for attorney, it sounded like he was saying avocado. If you enjoy foreign films, you might enjoy this.
Typical cat lady: lazy, sings off-key, craves spicy bloody marys.
That title doesn't make much sense, but, like a rich Italian entree, I'm trying to figure out all the ingredients that made this short novel so enjoyable to listen to. The writing is precise and introspective, the tone is self-deprecating, the atmosphere, urban with a splash of European beach culture. The narration (not an Italian accent) is seductive, chiseled and intimate.
The story is besides the point...this is a character study squisito with Milhone-style details (instead of pulling on jeans and a sweatshirt, our protagonist slips into soft Italian loafers). Avvocato Guido shares his meals with us along with his embarrassments, unromantic notions and Italian points of law. Veramente buono!
You have to start with the fact that the book was written in Italian and that it's somewhat dated. So that excuses some of its shortcomings. The protagonist is a lawyer representing a client accused of murdering a child. The interesting part is that the book gives insights into the Italian court system and Italian countryside. (I'm going to Italy, which is why I bought it.) But the resolution of the case relies on supposedly insightful techniques that are old hat to anyone who watches Law and Order, CSI, Major Crimes -- you get the idea. Plus, about half the book is not dedicated to the case at all, but to the emotional problems of the lawyer after his wife leaves him. He goes for coffee, he lights a cigarette, he lights another cigarette, he has more coffee. It gets tedious.
Retired bookkeeper, married, Mom of 2, two granddaughters. Love cozy mysteries.
I have mixed feelings about this book, and I'm not sure I would listen to another book in the series. I purchased it because of the overwhelming high ratings here on Audible. You've got two main themes going on here. (1) The protagonist's personal life is falling apart due to his separation from his wife. (2) His defense of a peddler who is accused of killing a young boy. Bottom line is that I finished the book because I wanted to find out if the peddler is convicted. (I really did not care a hoot about the protagonist's personal life). The evidence against the peddler is very weak, and I find it difficult to believe that they could hold him and make the charges stick, much less bring him to trial. But obviously the system in Italy is much different than in the U.S. I found the ending to be disappointing, but I can't say why because it would probably be a spoiler.
For those who are interested: there are quite a few profanities, including F-bombs. No sexual situations, however.
I adore really well-written fiction, mystery series, and historical fiction, and delight in finding well-narrated translations.
There are currently (Spring 2014) 4 books in the Guido Guerreri series by Gianrico Carofiglio. They can be found on Audible by doing a search for "Guido Guerreri." For some reason the system doesn't have them findable by author's name.
You won't be disappointed when you find this intelligent, well-written series! Gianrico Carofiglio, the author knows whereof he speaks: Gianrico Carofiglio is one of Italy's bestselling authors. He was an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Bari, a port on the coast of Puglia. He has been involved with trials concerning corruption, organized crime and the traffic in human beings. He is now a member of the Italian Senate."
On top of that, he is an intelligent and accomplished storyteller.
Guido, the protagonist, is a lawyer in Bari, a thoughtful, decent man who can't seem to find personal happiness but who loves his work and his city. The translation is really, really good and the narrator is perfect for the series.
I've found real gold looking for mystery series in translation this last year--and while the Scandinavian thriller series are great, Italian, Spanish, Icelandic and other series are just as good. This is one of the VERY BEST. Carofiglio isn't as well known as he deserves to be, even though he has received some very prestigious awards indeed for his writing.
His books can be somewhat hard to find, but I am so glad Audible has them, even though finding them in the online system is a bit faulty. [This problem shows up in Ann Cleeves and Peter May's work as well---you have to be persistent and search on various terms, even though the system says they "aren't available on Audible." Keep looking!].
A little hard to get into at first, but well worth sticking with..... A very god listen
Not for me. Promised a lot but IMO did not deliver. Too much time spent on main character's marriage issues etc before story got going. I felt it was unnecessarily padded and not for me.
"A lost man finds himself in defending another."
This is the story of a lawyer taking on a seemingly unwinnable case and somehow putting together an improbable defence. In doing so he finds himself once more, in an emotional and practical way. The manner of the story is rather downbeat, as suits, but builds as we progress through the case.
The story is well constructed in a gradual and believable way, with a clear emotional aspect, which Sean Barrett, in his usual style, pulls together well. I shall definitely be listening to more even though I discovered Carofiglio's novel by chance through an offer. This is a definite recommendation for a book which is not just a court procedural but shows a man lost and doubting himself, seeking a way to proceed with his life in a positive manner.
"Quite Simply : this is first rate"
I was tempted to read this by another reviewer who in turn had been directed to it by a remark made by Sean Barrett during an interview. And am I glad I took the hint. This is a great find. The plot is very simple - this is no who dun it - it is more a quiet and steady courtroom drama - interwoven with the changes taking place in the advocates life. It really does make compelling listening, I switched on at every possible opportunity. The writing is excellent and a great deal of credit for that must be down to the translator as well as the original author, whilst Sean Barrett has never been better. I have already downloaded the 2nd in the series and will be interested to see how the strands of the advocates personal life can be picked up and made as interesting as in this first book.
"Boring self-indulgent meanderings"
This book is less about the story (which could have been interesting and entertaining) than about the depressingly uninteresting Central character, avocato guido. Hours are spent describing his inconsequential meetings with women, or his mental state, or his favourite songs, or his endless cigarettes. I cannot help feeling that as the author is also an avocato in Bari, this is self-indulgently autobiographical. He seems to think that a blow by blow account of a magnificent defence Is interesting reading, whereas it comes across self-congratulatory and arrogant. And boring. I will definitely not be reading any more by this author.
Although Sean barratt gave this an excellent performance, it did not make up for the annoyance and irrelevance of the writing.
"A long short story"
Enjoyable meandering short story on steroids. The end game was obvious it seemed to me. The main characters were somewhat interesting without being engrossing. Sean Barrett was excellent as ever.
"No smoking please"
This is a story about your typical antihero. An italian lawyer Guido, depressed after devorcing his wife, taking on a case about a young boy abducted and killed and suspected street salesman accused of the murder. Nothing much happens in this story. Guido is not a great lawyer, nor a detective, most of the time he is...smoking. You can almost count down 20 seconds and Guido will light his next cigarette. Carofiglio spends most of this book vividly expanding on his facination with cigarettes and smoking and you can almost smell it in your clothes afterwards. Both the story and the plot gets lost in the smoke. Not even sure why the book is named Involuntary Witness.
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